Over at Lowe’s, they just put up a sales page for the new Craftsman HPP Pliers Wrench.
The “Pliers Wrench” is an interesting and extremely useful type of tool, usually featuring parallel jaws and a compound leverage mechanism with high force multiplier.
So far, I have only seen the Craftsman Pliers Wrench in a 10-inch size, model CMHT82250, which is said to have a maximum jaw capacity of 2.3 inches.
Like most other Pliers Wrench-types of tools, the new Craftsman has a button-activated adjustment mechanism.
Craftsman says that the smooth and parallel opening jaw provides for “damage-free operation.”
Buy Now via Lowe’s – (out of stock, check back)
Compare: Knipex via Amazon
*Pre-launch pricing, subject to change.
First off, let’s talk about the Knipex Pliers Wrench.
The Knipex Pliers Wrench is the most iconic tool of this design, having been invented by the company in 1994. While not inexpensive, the Knipex Pliers Wrench is an exceptionally useful tool for all kinds of fastening, squeezing, and part manipulating tasks.
An increasing number of tool brands have been releasing new Pliers Wrench tools of their own.
As you are probably aware, Craftsman is now owned by Stanley Black & Decker. This new offering is not Stanley Black & Decker’s first Pliers Wrench design.
Stanley Black & Decker released an Irwin Vise-Grip Pliers Wrench in 2019. Not to mince words, I didn’t like it. The handles were decent and the adjustment mechanism trouble-free, but I couldn’t use the tool in the same way as my Knipex Pliers Wrenches.
Pliers Wrenches can be used to turn fasteners with a sort of ratcheting-type of mechanism of sorts. After adjusting the pliers, you could squeeze the handles to turn a 6pt hex fastener, and then release pressure to have the jaws open just enough to clear the corners. In such a way, you could squeeze to turn and then relax to open and reverse, and it made for quicker work than using a traditional adjustable wrench. Most times, the fasteners would be left in perfect condition.
Irwin’s Vise-Grip pliers couldn’t do this – their adjustment mechanism was not well-tuned and fastener corners couldn’t clear the jaw opening width. I was majorly disappointed, but I also accepted that this was Irwin’s first attempt at such a design.
About one year ago, Stanley Black & Decker launched new Lenox Pliers Wrenches, seemingly designed for plumbing applications. The Lenox Pliers Wrench had deeper jaws and opened wider than other designs, and is sized for pipe fittings rather than fasteners.
Unsurprisingly, the Lenox pivot and adjustment design resembles Irwin’s.
Stanley Black & Decker went with a new design for their Craftsman Pliers Wrench, featuring Knipex-like grooves for the sliding lower jaw. The Craftsman pliers’ “ratchet-lock system” looks to be similar to that of their other versions, with grooves positioned on the back side of the tool.
I don’t trust the pre-launch price tag of $54.98 – I’d say this is unrealistically high for a Craftsman tool of the pictured design. At the time of this posting, the black-finish Knipex Wrench is just $2 more at Amazon, the chrome version is ~$6 more, and the cushion grip model is ~$7.50 more.
The Craftsman pliers look to have potential, if they work well (or at least better than Irwin’s) and if their eventual retail price is quite a bit lower.
If you spotted the “V” marking on the handles, that suggests these pliers will be part of Craftsman’s new V-Series hand tool family. I would also guess that the HPP part of the pliers’ official product name (Craftsman HPP 10″ Plier Wrench) stands for high performance (or power) pliers, which could suggest that we might see other sizes in the future.
The Knipex pliers wrenches are awesome and I don’t think this will match or top those but it’s always good to see more R&D and competition in the market. 10″ is a good size. That was the first of the Knipex models that I bought and it remains my most commonly used size. Heck I’d go as far as to say it’s one of my 5 most commonly used hand tools period. It was a good choice to make this size their first offering.
I must say the price surprised me too. I would expect a much lower price from a Craftsman product. And that’s what I’m hoping they will pull off. Even if the tool isn’t as nice as the Knipex it could still be great value for money if they could get it down to a reasonable price like Craftsman used to be known for. I really hope they can offer this for around $25-30, that would put a very useful tool into the hands of a lot of people who can’t swing the $50+ for a Knipex.
In the US patents generally only last 20 years, so I am not surprised to see these popping up. But as others have said $50+ is too expensive for a Chinese made clone.
Eddie the Hook
Yes, i would pay $25 to $30 for it also. But it would be a mercy purchase / make a donation to the Craftsman brand in a sense. I’ve toyed with the idea of buying the Lenox version of it, but that seemed too expensive for an Asian import.
I sure hope Channellock makes a pair like this.
Interesting, very simplstic design. I have my knipex ones and have for years. Kinda late to the game.
We bought our first Knipex plier-wrenches 20 years ago. There were no real competition for them for many years. Now – perhaps some patents have run out and we may see more from different suppliers (maybe even Channellock)
I would love a Channellock version.
Noticed that the Knipex is the only one that has the teeth in the adjustment channel.
Channellock has the speed grip, which adjust similar to the cobras, the jaws are closer in design to the standard channellock, but with crosshatched teeth. If they come up with a parallel jaw version, it would be awesome.
That’s one pair of Channellock pliers I haven’t adopted yet. I have handled them in the store a few times, but the handles just feel a little weird to me.
I might have given them a try if I didn’t have the same thing in Channellock’s traditional design.
If Craftsman can’t get these down to $25-$30 then I bet Harbor Freight will. The Doyle line of pliers is surprisingly good. Eventually, they will have a competitor, and I look forward to seeing it. Their Cobra clones seem to be some of the better options out there.
Concurred, I have the 8″ Doyle and they are as good as the 8″ HART ones, but with better handles, IMO.
Zach Of All Trades
I might be mistaken but I do think Harbor Freight has a “knipex” style set of pliers
Not wrong. They have a copy of the Cobra pliers. I haven’t seen a copy of the Pliers Wrench, but suspect to see one in the near future hopefully.
Yep, I like the Doyle Cobra copies. No pliers wrench alternatives yet, but I’m sure it’s coming.
They do have a robogrip style plier in the Quinn line.
Harbor Freight has released an almost exact copy of the Knipex 10” pliers wrench only slightly thicker and heavier under their “Icon” brand and manufactured in Taiwan. Price is around $40.
I have Knipex Pliers Wrench, probably got it based on a recommendation on this site.
I like it a lot, use it frequently and think it was worth the money.
I agree, the Craftsman seems over priced, compared to the Knipex.
They will have to get them down to <= $40 to really peak my interest.
Wonder where they are made.
I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised since SBD has done this before – but I am. I think this is great news for the Craftsman brand. The Knipex pliers wrench is awesome. My favorite tool all-time. I have several different sizes and love them all.
My excitement of course, could dampen quickly if these don’t work as well as the Knipex version, but I just think it’s great for Craftsman to have this tool in their lineup.
The pre-launch prices for all V tools seem a bit high. If the quality is commensurate – I don’t mind. I want pro level Craftsman tools to exist.
I could see them priced near Knipex because they want to show we are quality too. and them marked down almost all the time 10 or 15%.
but if these are made in taiwan or china then I expect a bit cheaper still
My initial thoughts are like some others comments. Price seems too high. Will have to wait for product reviews before judging though.
For that price, they’d better be made in the USA. Otherwise I wouldn’t even consider their unproven design over the tried and true made in Germany Knipex.
I think it’s finally time I buy a pair of the Knipex. I’ve been eyeing them for years but never had a chance to see them in person, thus hard for me to justify the $60. I saw your video on them the other day and now this post… I think it’s time.
Glad I could help! I was eyeing them for a few years as well, until I finally decided to just buy them and review them myself. My only regret is that I waited so long!
They are must-have / mandatory. The 180mm ones get as much use the 250mm/10”.
If they are made in USA I will buy a pair.
The Lenox ones are made in China. Lowes doesn’t list a COO for the Craftsman – which leads to the speculation that they may not be USA-made – or just that the info is not yet available.
USA production would have been clearly reflected on the product page.
No USA Made? NO SALE!
None of these bozo brands seem to be adding any value or improving on what Knipex has invented and evolved over the years. Not healthy competition, just exercises for merchandizing to different audiences cooked up by accounting and executed by marketing. Buy the real deal; don’t encourage cynical branding ploys to enrich the parasitic management class.
At the currently listed pricing, I agree. But should these be priced considerably lower, such as $25 or $30, that would make this type of tool available to users who couldn’t or wouldn’t budget for the Knipex version.
I had the Pliers Wrench on my wishlist for a few years before I could finally justify its high price. $50+ is a lot of money for a single pair of pliers.
The only potential improvement I see is the angle of the handles. Depending on your use case that might be beneficial. But for a “does it all” kind of tool I really prefer the shallower angle of the Knipex, and would really like it to be even shallower than it is.
Seriously though, the Knipex Pliers wrench is worth the cost, it’s so useful. Their CoBolt cutters are another one that it’s hard to spend the $50-$60 on. But once you’ve used them you just keep kicking yourself for not buying them years ago. I had been considering them for years and just never could bring myself to pull the trigger. A coworker ended up bring a pair into work one day to cut some chain. And wow, my mind was blown. I ordered a pair on my lunch break.
I couldn’t agree more. In my opinion the 10″ pliers wrench, 12″ cobras, and the Cobolts are must-have tools. It doesn’t matter if you’re primarily doing automotive work, fixing stuff up around the house, MRO, farm, marine, heavy equipment, electrical, plumbing, general contracting, everybody will find those useful.
The pliers wrenches are specifically useful to darn near every trade, even obscure ones you might not think of. I find them to be useful for gunsmithing. They are handy for compressing V-shaped springs and in many cases are faster and easier to use compared to a traditional mainspring vise. They’re good for adjusting many kinds of sights. They also make a very precise press for roll and dowel pins. They give you a lot more leverage and control compared to using pliers or a hammer and a punch, and the fact the jaws are parallel helps make sure the pin goes straight and doesn’t get deformed. That same function would be of use to anyone who builds R/C cars or boats using miniature universal joints as well. A friend uses a pair of pliers wrenches with the tips ground down into a duckbill shape to bend and adjust the springs and keys on saxophones, clarinets, etc. I’ve known several people, myself included, to use them as a crimping tool for IDC connectors on ribbon cables. That was a big cost saver for me since ribbon cable crimpers are $$$$. The larger sizes are useful for bending and straightening metal for general welding/fabrication work.
The utility of the pliers wrench is so difficult to explain, but once you own one it is an awesome tool you won’t be able to live without.
Sure, there’s the “replaces a combination wrench set” aspect, but it’s so much more than that. First, it squeezes fasteners – sometimes that makes it BETTER than a combination wrench. How many “multi-tools” can actually claim to have a superior function to the regular tools they replace?
It’s easy to control the pressure too, so I’ve used it on fragile connectors too – for example thin hollow pipe.
That brings to mind another example. I was working on an older dirt bike recently where the spoke nipples were totally frozen. Despite heat and penetrating lube, a spoke wrench just kept threatening to round them off completely. Mini pliers wrench however was able to squeeze the nipples and apply just a touch of squish to those aluminum nipples – breaking free the corrosion and allowing me to unscrew those otherwise totally stuck spokes.
The metal straightening aspect is very handy. For example, my wife came to me with a tractor key that was mangled from being too soft compared to the still old ignition switch it was being used in. One squeeze – like new key. Sure, I could have attacked it with a small ball pein on a flat surface, but this was fast, easy and precise.
MM already outlined how it can be used to squeeze things together or crimp.
You can also use it to grab things securely without damage to the surface – say holding a small part for grinding or to make a bend in a piece of metal at a specific spot.
I have seen craftsman branded knipex pliers before this may be some kind of coop
Solidly be bad if it was or of they simply licensed the mechanism
The Craftsman-branded Knipex Cobra pliers are Sears-era tools. Back then, Sears contracted with many different OEMs for different tools and accessories. Stanley Black & Decker typically manufactures their own tools, and I’ve heard they work with OEMs on unique tool designs. What was true for Sears Craftsman isn’t the case for Stanley Black & Decker Craftsman.
Many years ago when I often shopped the Craftsman section of the local Sears store I recall seeing a handful of Knipex-branded tools on the shelf. I was surprised since this was the first time I had ever seen them in the USA. These weren’t even marked Craftsman, they were in standard Knipex packaging. They had other 3rd party tools back then too like Lisle automotive tools.
Yep, that’s back when Sears actually cared.
Things changed drastically around 2011-2012.
I’d consider them for <$30, otherwise nope.
$55 would seem high if they are made in China
$30 would seem OK for made in China – but probably too low to cover costs and profit margins if they are made in the USA. Just my thoughts.
Yes, I’d be willing to pay more for Made In USA or France ( Facom), maybe up to $40-$45, but I’d want to see reviews that it was comparable to Knipex.
BTW, I’ve just been specifying some probes (for DMM and oscilloscope), and love that TEquipment.net has COO info.
Many Pomona leads are still made in USA (apparently some are made in China), and probably the best quality, but a little too much $$$ for our usage, so I’m looking at CalTest – and surprisingly a fair amount of their stuff is made in France (along with Taiwan, and a bit of China).
It’s also amazing how much probes can cost. OK, I can understand why >1GHz active probes cost a lot, but I love the modular probes like this https://www.tequipment.net/Fluke/VPS212-R/Standard/Passive-Oscilloscope-Probes/ from Fluke, but $185 for a passive probe? OK, it’s made in Germany and designed for high voltage, but still, it’s a 200MHz passive probe ($20-$40 for OK quality), so it’s still yikes!
If you are looking for US made test leads I strongly recommend considering Probe Master. https://probemaster.com/
Almost all of their product line is made in California.
They have the most flexible test lead wire I have ever used. Almost too flexible if that’s even possible. They also offer a huge variety of options and lengths.
Unfortunately when in comes to higher voltage safety rated scope probes there are not many options other than the OEM ones. However when you consider what the scope-meter that it is intended to be used with costs Its not really out of line. You are paying for the safety rating more than anything.
I think one of your contributors may be correct in thinking Knipex have dropped the ball re patent protection for their (perfect) Plier-Wrenches… Or there could be an interesting lawsuit pending. If the (almost identical) Craftsman version is as good as it’s German cousin, I’ll buy one – though it will be a while before we see them in Britain.
The SBD versions (Craftsman, Irwin, Lenox) all have a smooth channel in which the adjuster slides. The Knipex channel has teeth sort of like a gear rack. Maybe this has something to do with Knipex patents.
Knipex was not the first either, they just did a re-design of the original parallel jaw pliers. Bernard pliers were the first parallel jaw pliers with a patent back in 1890. Bernard actually had many patents on parallel operating jaw tools.
I’ve got the Gedore 10″ and a few of the smaller Knipex versions, including the new tiny XS version I just got, which I love. Both are awesome quality. The Gedores seem beefier but the button is also stiff and hard to press sometimes. The only way I’m buying Craftsman is for like $20. Otherwise I’ll stick to quality German brands or Harbor Freight Doyle’s if they are really cheap.
I just bought some insulated Wiha lineman pliers off eBay, but the Doyle knockoffs of Klein were tempting. Looked very close to the Kleins and less than half the price.
Oh BTW, also saw some Ivy Classic tools that looked good. Seems like some are still made in the USA. Anyone bought that brand? Do you like them?
The only Ivy Classic branded tools that I’ve actually seen were some pretty sketchy looking circular saw blades made in China sold for $12 or so. But a quick look on Amazon shows quite a few other items with that brand name. They are apparently a family-owned company that seems to import a wide range of tools including pliers
Yeah I found the list and turn out not much is made in the USA. https://www.ivyclassic.com/Made-in-USA.aspx
Thinking back – I seem to recall seeing Ivy Classic tool display boards in one or two small mom and pop hardware stores over the years. Their website says that they trace their origins back to 1929 blacksmith tools. They are located in a mixed use neighborhood of New Rochelle NY – with a building that looks more like a small warehouse than any sort of manufacturing facility.
A lot of the Wiha pliers are made in Vietnam now. The one pair I had was pretty low quality. Might as well have bought some from Harbor Freight for 1/3 of the cost.
You know, that might explain something. An old co-worker of mine gave me a pair of Wiha needle nose pliers a year or two ago. I wasn’t about to complain about a gift but they were not the kind of quality I have come to expect from the Wiha brand name given my years of experience with their screwdrivers, both precision and heavy-duty. I relegated them to the garden shed.
The angle looks a bit strange, but it could be due to the way they took the picture.
Hope it is comfortable to use and that the mechanism is strong. The Fujiya version looks awesome, but the mechanism seems to have some strength issues.
I wonder if they will release multiple sizes.
It’s not just you – I noticed the same. It looks like Knipex’s handles are swept back, while Craftsman’s aren’t, creating and awkward-looking transition between the jaws and the gripped handle areas.
Since they are very close to the Knipex in price, and I know with 100% certainty than the Knipex are super high quality. CMan is still a big gamble for quality, warranty, availability, etc.
I don’t see any reason to buy CMan over Knipex. Especially since they aren’t advertising Made in the US (which means they probably aren’t).
I don’t care if Craftsman offers a free woman with purchase. They lost me forever when they moved across the pond.
Women are not property or objects to be given away. Nice try.
Too few companies making too many of the same tools. For example, once upon a time buying a Cresent adjustable wrench made by generations of craftsman at the Jamestown NY plant was not a clone of Armstrong or Williams. It was the real deal, invented and made by Crescent. Today in comparison, this new Craftsman product looks OK but no different than the other SBD clones such as Irwin or Lennox. Same tool different name and price. Sometimes smaller is better since most of the innovation in tool manufacturing over the past century was by smaller family owned companies like former Crescent, Channellock, Bondhus among others. Big conglomerates appear to simply clone or even possibly try to steal innovation from smaller companies. Bionic Wrench saga is a good example. Still optimistic about SBD Craftsman Tool Plant in Texas and hope we see some quality affordable tools. Yet feel nostalgic for the loss in craftsmanship since the newer tools are computer driven manufacturing with far less human touch and I suspect an innovation dead end since machines cannot come up with new ideas for tools. It was the craftsman with their hands in the hearth and hammer that sparked innovation. This latest offering from SBD Craftsman is uninspiring.
The adjustable wrench was invented and patented by J P Johansson in 1891 and 1892. He sold the rights to BAHCO.
Karl Petersson of Crescent copied the Bahco in 1907.
The only patents that Karl Petersson owned, as far as I know, were for the checkerdot handles for his pliers and the knurl spring for adjustable wrenches
Koko The Talking Ape
The Craftsman has visibly worse finishing than the Knipex. It might function as well as the Knipex, but it won’t be as fun to own.
Agreed. These look promising in design but the finish is low quality. If you’re going to price some pliers over $50 they have to look more refined than this. $25 is as high as I would go on these if the mechanism for adjustment felt relatively similar to Knipex. I hope these v series tools are good quality because I haven’t bought a Craftsman brand anything since the last time I was in Sears. Maybe there is a gem or two of the brand at Lowe’s that I have missed but otherwise I think the current Craftsman lineup just looks like cheap junk. If I wanted a second tier tool, Harbor Freight is where I would go. If you can’t trust the brand, at least the sting of the price wouldn’t be so bad. HF needs to get their warranty together. If they set it up like the old craftsman where you could just go in the store and get an exchange, that would be a pretty enticing reason to buy more hand tools from them.
Yeah, I noticed this too. And frankly it’s unacceptable if they really do plan on charging $50+ for it. If they are going to be charging premium prices then it needs to be a premium tool.
Is the finish that much worse? My Knipex pliers wrenches aren’t smooth either. They also have a dimpled finish.
I didn’t think it was horrible, and I didn’t think it was worth mentioning in my original reply in this topic. But I do agree that the finish isn’t as nice. Does it matter? I doubt it would make a functional difference. But now that we’ve been discussing it I think Craftman’s take on the pliers wrench really ought to look nicer if they are planning on charging Knipex-tier prices. Like Kent Skinner wrote above why would anyone choose to buy these over Knipex if they were offered at such a similar price point? The slightly worse finish would of be little concern if these were being sold for $25 instead.
Koko The Talking Ape
The Craftsman is visibly worse: rougher and also less uniform. It looks like a tool that was banged up and rusted for a while, then refurbished.
But MM is right, it might not make a difference function-wise.
But I like nice tools, even if I don’t need them. The Knipex don’t just function well, they’re also nice to look at and hold. That makes the price premium worth it. I would tolerate the Craftsman if it were, say, half the price, but I wouldn’t enjoy it.
Does it come in metric?
P.s. that question is half jest, but I am wondering if there is a metric scale on the reverse.
It’s not like I use the scale on my Knipex version much now, but I would have preferred a metric scale on that side so it was facing me when I use it right-handed.
I have no idea what scales the tool has but if the scale is important to you it’s possible to have it added. Any shop that makes signs, trophies, award plaques, etc, will have a laser engraver these days and with that it is a trivial job to mark a metric scale on a tool. Even the weak laser engravers which are meant for plastic can effectively mark metal using a special compound.
I’m not sure what they would charge you for it, but I used to own such an engraving machine when I had a machining business and it would only take a few minutes of work on the computer to set up the job and then maybe a minute to do the engraving so I can’t imagine it would be much money. If they use the marking compound method it would not damage the chrome so there will be no place for rust to start infiltrating.
Interesting idea – I never would have thought of that!
If the Knipex Pliers Wrench came out in 1994, then I am surprised it has taken this long for copies to come out, since both German and US patents have a lifetime of 20 years.
After all the online hoopla over Stanley B&D opening a tool making plant in Texas I’m completely flummoxed as to why they haven’t waited to promote that first and foremost? Not obvious knockoffs like this and just a few other very average looking tools? All sourced, as far I recall, in the land of all nearly west bound container ships.
High Plains Grifter
At 1/2 of the $55 asking price there is waaayyy too much chineesium in these pliers for them to ever land in my toolbox and lets face facts here, SBD/Crapsman hasn’t been know for building a lot of high chooch tools of late. Just an observation from the prairies edge.
Maybe I’m just overtired lately, but I find it a tiny bit creepy when the title of the article is “Meet the New Craftsman Pliers Wrench”… My mind goes to “Please don’t tell me you’re going to move the jaws and make it ‘Talk’ to me? That’s Dad Humour gone too far…”
I kinda feel lucky that this kind of wrench has no place in my toolbox. I’d be too tempted to attempt mechanical puppetry on a regular basis… Sick mind… I’m sorry.
I still bought knipex when the Irwin’s were clearancing out for under $20 who would pay anywhere near that price.
You can get the Irwin ones for about $15 any day of the week from Menards here in the midwest. Even that has not tempted me to try them over my existing Knipex. I don’t see the Craftsman ones selling well at anything more than $20.
The number stamped on the upper jaw, what is this? Is it the model number, or are they individually numbered? I assume it’s the model number, but just wondered.
Perhaps the number is just in the illustration, not etched into tool! Would be neat to see some numbered limited edition tools.
That’s the model number. CMHT is “Craftsman Hand Tool”.
P.s. Doesn’t it seem a little weird to make the model number so prominent?
It’s not like that’s something you need to think about once you own the tool.
It looks to me like it’s laser engraved on the tool, but honestly the photo isn’t detailed enough for me to be 100% sure.
I noticed Woodpeckers is selling Wera self setting wrenches. Super expensive!
The price seems to be creeping up on those. A couple months ago I was looking at them and the whole set from KC tool was right about $300 at list price. Now they’re in the same ballpark as Woodpeckers with roughly $330 for the whole set, though we do have the Toolguyd discount code for KC.
These are not a new idea but they are the best implementation of this particular type of wrench that I have ever seen. There are some applications they are very handy for but I honestly can’t bring myself to drop that kind of money on them.
I ordered the 4pc set for $169.93 before coupon in October 2020.
Right now, it’s $176.12 (or $158.51 w/ TOOLGUYD4LIFE coupon).
With higher freight costs, material costs, and shortages, a $6.19 or ~3.64% increase isn’t very unexpected. Swings in demand could contribute to raised prices for less popular sizes.
If you ask me, I’d say that these are not general purpose tools, and that they are much better suited for users who have very specific tasks in mind.
Facom re-branded and very good quality made in France 🇫🇷 👍